Building permit request approved by Planning Commission

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By Katie McCoy
Entirely East Lansing

Planning Commision meeting discusses the use of solar energy systems on March 23, 2016 at City Hall. Photo by Katie McCoy

Planning Commission meeting discusses the use of solar energy systems on March 23, 2016 at City Hall.
Photo by Katie McCoy

EAST LANSING – Pablo Majano, planning and zoning community development analyst, requested approval to have the ability to apply for a building permit for Michigan State University Federal Credit Union’s headquarters and other zoning districts to build solar panels on carports at the Planning Commission meeting last Wednesday.  

There are no permits in play but this approval would allow business districts and community retail districts to request building permits for solar panel construction, according to Majano.

At the planning commission meeting, Majano said this ordinance is based off another ordinance that allows for solar energy systems to be built carports with appropriate permits

Majano said Ordinance 1357 has been an existing regulation on alternative energy generation systems since 2011.

“There are no current proposals for a carport energy system,” said Majano.  “Staff of the planning and zoning committee anticipates a future use of carport energy systems in the two different districts.”

Located on a zoning map of East Lansing, the districts requesting the building permits are located in the northern tier of East Lansing.

Majano said his role in this process is “to provide our city’s planning commission and city council the language, information and tools to implement this item into our zoning ordinance.”

Staff Secretary Darcy Schmitt said that the use of solar energy systems would be up to whomever the building permit is used for.   

“For Michigan State University Federal Credit Union,” said Schmitt, “they will be using their power but that would be up to them to determine whether it would be for personal use or they could actually sell the use to anybody that would buy it.”

Michigan State University Federal Credit Union currently does not have solar panels on their carports.

Schmitt said that the city of East Lansing does allow solar energy systems on buildings and residential buildings.

“Other than this proposal, there is no additional plan to be added,” said Schmitt.

Vice Chair Laura Goddeeris said she found this proposal to be a positive impact for the future of East Lansing.

“I would like to see this potentially elsewhere is appropriate,” said Goddeeris.

Commissioner Jon Hansen said he has talked about this for apartment buildings in the future.

“This is definitely the direction we should head in the community,” said Commissioner Summer Minnick.  “I’d love to see it expanded so I think starting off with this is a great plan.”

The motion was passed with a unanimous vote.

“There is no reason not to pass this,” said Goddeeris.

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